Rogue One A Star Wars Story movie cast: Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk
Rogue One A Star Wars Story movie director: Gareth Edwards
Last year’s Star Wars entrée ‘The Force awakens’ was so ho-hum that I had to work on mustering enough enthusiasm for this latest edition, which is actually the entry point to the iconic series. But I’m here to tell you that ‘Rogue One’ is not half-bad at all. Yes, it has clearly been made to milk the madly popular franchise one more time. Yes, it’s grid is predictable: in its beginning is its end. But, and this is the strength of the film, it moves past a leaden start, revs it up, and becomes quite entertaining as it goes along.
Part of that has to do with the fact that it has a plot we never lose sight of, and characters we begin to know more of: of course, there is all the action and the soaring, near-deafeaning background track that we want from inter-galactic battles, but the film firmly foregrounds its faces. And that is all to the good.
Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) leads the charge of the rebel forces in their fight against the evil empire led by Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) and his storm-troopers. Jones is suitably feisty and weather-beaten as she struggles to locate her long-missing weapons expert father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), with the help of rebel ally Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).
There’s enough juice here for newbies to the Star Wars series. A chatty droid called K-2 (Alan Tudyk) who nearly steals the film from his human companions. Lots of alien creatures who are to be seen casually floating about, all of whom speak English (yeah, this may be a galaxy far far away, and it may have outer-space critters and very multi-culti black and Asian faces) but the language remains strictly Anglo-Saxon). And as many rapid bang-bang skirmishes between sleek futuristic battle-ships and their commanders taking on inimical planetary alignments to please even the most hard-nosed present day gamer.
There’s also enough to please die-hard fans too, and there appear to be millions of believers still, given by the numbers of tickets sold worldwide. You can spot the beloved characters of the very first 1977 Star Wars film, the one that made George Lucas a house-hold name: I wouldn’t be giving any thing away when I tell you that there’s a flash of those two original droids and a certain princess with those two distinctive plaits, and, above all, that masked guy whom you can hear breathing menacingly much before you can see him and his famous light sabres.
I’m not a fan, so I started getting impatient when things started clunking and clanking (and amongst those is one of the most non-charismatic leading men to have graced this series: Luna tries hard, but he is simply not eye-catching enough). But once it shed its layabout ways it was all fine, and I stayed with it right till the end.
The Force is back.
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